Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of unlucky host animals such as domestic cats and dogs. Like mites and spiders, ticks are arachnids. They attach themselves to our pets to feed, causing distress and irritation. Ticks are most active in the spring and summer months. They wait on plants and grass ready to bite your cat or dog as they go past. These parasites prefer to stay close to the head, neck, feet and ear area. However, they can be found anywhere on a pet’s body.
How Do I Know If My Pet Has Ticks?
Ticks are visible to the naked eye. If you come across a tick on your carpet or on the floor, you or your pet probably brought them into your home. Don’t brush off a single tick in your house as a one-off occurrence. Check your pets’ skin on its head, around the mouth and ears, on its neck, forelegs and the rest of its body, searching for any lumps on the skin surface. It is recommended for your pet to be evaluated by a veterinarian soon after any ticks are found.
How Will Ticks Affect My Pet?
Following a tick bite, a pet may exhibit signs of a fever. Fevers can be a sign of many different sicknesses and symptoms, a pet with a fever should be looked over for ticks.
Some ticks can cause a temporary condition called tick paralysis, which is manifested by a gradual onset of difficulty walking that may develop into paralysis. These signs typically begin to resolve soon after the tick is removed.
The main risk from tick bites in the UK is Lyme disease. The clinical signs include fever, lameness, and lethargy. If left untreated it can lead to more serious conditions such as heart failure and kidney disease.
How Do I Prevent My Pet From Getting Ticks?
It is very challenging to prevent your pet’s exposure to ticks. Ticks can attach to your pet when he or she goes with you on walks or during any outdoor activities. The recommended practice to prevent ticks from attaching to your beloved pet is through the regular use of tick control products. The options available to protect pets against ticks include collars, sprays, and oral medications. Speak to your vet as to the best method for your pet.
• Spot on treatments. Spot on flea treatment can be applied in seconds and provide month-long, complete protection from blood hungry parasites. Spot on treatments are packaged in individual doses of liquid.
• Oral medications. Pills that are given at routine intervals are readily available. These medications can work to kill both ticks and fleas.
• Special shampoos. Medicated shampoos will generally kill ticks on contact. This can be an inexpensive method of protecting your pet during the peak tick season. The downside is that the effectiveness can be short-lived.
• Tick collars. Collars that repel ticks are relatively easy to use. The downside is that they are mainly only useful for protecting the neck and head from ticks.
• Tick sprays. These sprays kill ticks quickly and provide residual protection. The spray can be ideal when you are planning to spend time out in areas where ticks are very prevalent.
As always, speak to your vet about the best preventative method for your pet. Your vet will be familiar with the common types of ticks in your area and the best means to keep your pet safe and healthy.